OUR VIEW: Be safe when on the water

Published 8:30 am Friday, June 4, 2021

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If you’ve watched the national news lately, you might’ve seen a story where a 7-year-old boy swam for an hour to save both his dad and 4-year-old sister on the St. Johns River in Jacksonville.

The 4-year-old was wearing a life vest and typically hung on the back of the anchored boat, according to media outlets. However, the current was strong and pulled her away. The boy, Chase Poust, jumped in to help her and got stuck. The dad then jumped in and wore himself out trying to get to her. He asked Chase to swim to shore and told both of his children he loved them because he wasn’t sure what was going to happen next.

Chase not only got to shore — he ran to a neighbor’s house and they called for help. Both his dad and sister were recovered and are still alive due to his heroics.

For anyone with kids, this story sends a shudder down your spine. It’s a reminder of how quickly things can change in the water and how fast a fun day can go to one where a family member’s life is in danger.

We’re nearing the end of Spring, and Summer is about to officially get underway. That means families will be spending a lot of time at pools, West Point Lake or taking trips to the beach.

It also means that everyone should be reviewing water safety tips to avoid disaster in the water.

The American Red Cross has an impressive list of swim safety tips on its website, so we’d guide you there. However, a few stand out.

One is ensuring every person in your family knows how to swim. Swim lessons start at a young age and are vitally important before going to the pool, the lake or the beach. Never leave children unattended in the water either, and young children should wear life jackets.

Home pools should also be supervised and barricaded so that young children can’t climb in them when parents aren’t around. Many children drown in pools that they get into when their parents aren’t around.

And even on days when everything seems to be going right, disaster can strike fast.

That’s what happened to the Poust family in Jacksonville. Their story should serve as a reminder of the dangers of any body of water. So have fun, but be safe out there.